Hestercombe House Chooses Biomass Solution

The newly restored 18th century Hestercombe House estate in Somerset features a biomass powered district heating scheme which has been installed using REHAU’s thermally efficient RAUTHERMEX flexible polymer pipework.

650m of heat main in REHAU RAUTHERMEX has been laid to connect the buildings on the estate with a new centralised plant room, which is located in the estate yard where it houses both a 200kW and 150kW biomass boiler.

The main includes a 350m run from the plant room to the main house and art gallery and a series of shorter runs connecting the visitor centre and the other estate buildings.  The largest diameter RAUTHERMEX Duo 63mm pipework has been used throughout, laid at a depth of around one metre.

The installation was completed by specialist installers Dunster Biomass, based in Taunton, who designed and specified the whole district heating scheme.  As one of the UK’s leading installers of biomass heating systems, Dunster now specifies RAUTHERMEX on all of its large scale project because of the benefits the pipework offers in terms of maximising efficiency and minimising heat loss.

REHAU RAUTHERMEX is thermally efficient because the PE-Xa carrier pipe is surrounded by closed cell polyurethane foam which has a lambda value of 0.0216W/mK.  It also meets the requirements for durability on site with a robust, corrugated LDPE outer jacket around the foam.

Dunster’s lead engineer on the project was Joe Waller who commented on the ease of installation and in particular the ease of jointing.  He said:  “RAUTHERMEX is a quality solution which meets all of our requirements in terms of performance and efficiency.  It’s easy to lay and the jointing rigs supplied by REHAU make it really fitter friendly.”

The biomass installation forms part of a planned refurbishment of the house which has been the headquarters of Somerset County Fire Brigade for over sixty years and was eventually gifted by Somerset County Council to the Hestercombe Gardens Trust in November 2013.  Previously, heating of the main house was provided by a large 600kW oil fired boiler with separate heating systems in each of the estate buildings but the biomass solution and district heating scheme which is replacing this will offer significant cost and energy savings.

Hestercombe House, which is renowned for its Lutyens and Jekyll designed gardens, officially opened to the public again in 2014 and now features a number of visitor attractions including an art gallery, a restaurant and a music school.